Terms used in (Leith) Shipbuilding

This weekend I received an email from Terry who began his career as an apprentice joiner at Robb’s. I spent a very pleasant afternoon with him last year and he taught me many things about Robb’s and about shipyard joinery which will appear in a future posting.

However, his email suggests another topic which could be pursued on the Henry Robb blog, as a result of reading one of my entries in which I used the term THE YAIRD for Robb’s yard. I would like to get it up and running, you will see what I mean when you read his email, so here it is:

Hi Ruth,

I’m enjoying your blog site, it will I’m sure, generate more information for your research.

I thought recently that having a list of terms and expressions from Robb’s that were specific to the yard might encourage others to contribute.  Particularly some that come to mind are:-

BINCH – how the Joiner’s shop benches were always called in Leith


EETCH – Leith Shipwright’s term for an Adze

SCRUNTIN’ – when Teak decks had been caulked and filled with pitch, they were scraped to provide that sharp black line inlaid look.  Very sore on the knees !

GAYLUM – Wooden rebate plane, used by ship’s joiners.

HALFLIN – Very long wooden plane used for straightening and jointing.

GRANNY’S TOOTH – Wooden router plane.

DWANGS – Horizontal pieces of wood, jammed between the vertical steel girders on the ship’s side to allow fixings.

SODGERS – (Soldiers)  Vertical pieces of wood for similar fixings.

These are just a few that come to mind, and I’m sure that there are many more,


Terry McGuire


So, we have a start – it would be great to collect more of the terms used at the yaird before the knowledge of them and their meanings is lost – over to you, comments or emails as always, very welcome.

To read more about Terry’s story you can go to:


Other posts on my blog which relate to this include:

Henry Robb’s Shipyard

Touching a piece of history

Meeting through the internet! Memories of Henry Robb’s Shipyard. 

Sourcing the history of a family and it’s business

Water of Leith – Flowing in the Veins, book review

Of Shipyard Trades and Cameraderie

Shipyard Trades (another posting on which I am asking for some help please!)

Small Beginnings …

Copyright Ruth Patterson 2010


About Ruth Macadam

Great Granddaughter of Henry Robb. School teacher.
This entry was posted in Henry Robb, Leith, Leith Shipbuilding, Shipbuilding, Shipyards, Tradesmen and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Terms used in (Leith) Shipbuilding

  1. Pingback: A Little Treasure – “Build the Ships” (HMSO 1946) | Henry Robb's Shipyard

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